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Rio de Janeiro: A City to Fall in Love With
The crackling city of Rio de Janerio, #Brazil immediately captured my heart. The #beaches are of course fantastic, but it'd be a shame to ignore the local #culture. And don't worry, I didn't go all the way to Brazil without seeing the World Cup stadium.
I fell for Rio de Janeiro easily. With its vast expanse of beaches, tropical forests, iconic mountains, friendly locals, and a vibrant lifestyle, it is hard not to get hypnotized by the second largest city in Brazil.
To visit Rio de Janeiro and not revel in its beach culture would be missing out on a major experience.
Apart from its beaches, Rio has other incredibly beautiful places.
I stayed at the Windsor Copa Hotel because of its proximity to Copacabana beach. I found Ipanema beach another cool place to interact with Cariocas (a term used for locals from Rio de Janeiro) and tourists alike. Though Cariocas were friendly, I hardly got into a proper conversation with them due to my basic and broken Portuguese. But my favourite place was the beach at Leme, for its great views, solitude and a nice walk.
Windsor Copa Hotel
Bike Tour in Paraty
Trem do Corcovado
Apart from its beaches, Rio has other incredibly beautiful places to immerse oneself in. Whether you are at the top of Corcovado mountain (the one with the statue of Christ the Redeemer) or Sugarloaf mountain, hours just pass by as you take in the panoramas of Guanabara Bay. Despite visiting these popular spots, I wanted to explore more of the city’s natural beauty. I booked an easy hike with Jungle Me through Tijuca National Park and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rio has a reputation for splendid architecture too, and it is not just limited to colonial buildings. One of Brazil’s most celebrated architects, Oscar Niemeyer, is well known for his contribution to modern architecture. I took a day tour to Niteroi with Rio EnCantos to explore the Niemeyer pathway or Caminho Niemeyer. It consists of seven of his works. I found the Contemporary Art Museum (better known as MAC or Museu de Arte Contemporânea) quite intriguing with its UFO shape and avant-garde feel.
Rio has a reputation for splendid architecture.
There was another reason why I visited Niteroi. It lies on the other side of Guanabara Bay and probably is the only place from where Rio de Janeiro’s famous peaks can be viewed in the same frame. The views were indeed worth a day’s detour from Rio.
Being a sports fan, I had to visit the Maracanã stadium, which hosted the FIFA World Cup 2014 final. I felt it was nowhere close to the fan experiences of Camp Nou in Barcelona or Old Trafford in Manchester. Perhaps I should have chosen to watch a live match there.
I already have a bucket list ready for my second visit.
Although I was completely sold for the idea of visiting Rio de Janeiro again, it was one of the most expensive cities I had been to. One can easily drain their pockets while eating out every day. I found the local juice bars a good and inexpensive option for quick breakfasts and snacks. I often had açai bowls (pulp of acai berries often served as a smoothie or with granola, bananas etc). Caiprinha is the national cocktail of Brazil, but batida was my preferred choice of Brazilian cocktail. I also frequented botequims (Brazilian term for local taverns) for their liveliness.
I already have a bucket list ready for my second visit to Rio: visiting the favelas and the many cultural institutions, experiencing the carnival preparation and the music of bossa nova, to name a few.
My first (and definitely not the last) visit left me wanting more of this gorgeously layered city, and I am sure I will be back.